Brown Trouser Time

It’s funny that this week has been so full of excitement, death and calamity that I completely forgot to mention the five minutes I suffered through last Thursday. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was more afraid than I have ever been before… Ever.


The day didn’t start of with some feeling of foreboding – which should have been my first clue that I was destined to go through some fearful encounter soon enough – instead it started with a couple of nice, if a little stale, scones from the day before. Lightly warmed.

All fine.

(No this isn’t a food poisoning scenario, feel free to continue reading whilst you scoff that fried fatty-mass.)

I had a pleasant morning with the children, all calm and quiet, a few laughs and jokes.

The Mrs came downstairs after getting dressed, gave me a hug, and explained that we needed a bit of shopping before she dropped me at work. Now I must explain at this point that the previous night shift at my place of employment had called me the night before – obviously – explaining that a tip-off from the West Midlands Police had caused a copper to pop into the shop and warn us of some ‘threat’ without giving any real details and up until I was putting my uniform on I had completely forgotten all of this. But then it hit me.

What would I encounter at work? Would it have been burgled? Set on fire? Would someone have tried ram-raiding the large front window to try and snaffle some snacks and empty DVD cases? Would I be shot behind the counter? Would a serial rapist force themselves upon me? Would I end up spending the shift hand-cuffed to a bomb?

My mind was racing, logic would later dictate that if someone in the West Midlands was planning something in the East they would probably select a better target than a small side-street video rental shop, but at the time I was panicking.

I needn’t have worried, as fate was going to do it’s best to stop me getting to work – opening to Casualty-style.

Oh yes.

Opening to Casualty Style!

You read that correctly. I would soon be trapped, a pawn in a Mouse Trap-esque scenario which would potentially result in my safety – and the safety of my family – being put in HUGE jeopardy.

But I digress.

So there I was, wiping a squashed raisin from the bottom of my work shoe wondering what fate would befall the little Blockbuster store while I was in/near it. I picked up my keys, my lunch and headed out to the car, kids in tow.

The Mrs decided to get fuel on the way to the shops as it would be easier if I were in the car to stop the three squabblers in the back from squabbling, naturally. She was very correct in this assumption and we headed for the BP garage in the centre of town. There was a damp in the air, that damp wet weather that doesn’t want to be all-out rain, but decides to just mist everything. Now this is VERY important. VERY important indeed.

For you see while we pulled up at the pumps we had to negotiate a burgundy car that was parked up almost diagonally. The fuel was being pumped in with little care or attention by some long-haired prick – seemingly not caring that his car was parked in such a ridiculous fashion. Only then did we realise that he wasn’t the driver.

Well not exactly then, but as the driver door opened and a moccasin-wearing foot with very white socks slowly descended from the inner comfort of the burgundy motor and onto the cold, unforgiving concrete of the forecourt. At this point we noted the pumper splash fuel onto the side of the car and the floor. Bit dangerous. I was notably worried.

The wife got out to fill our car as I watched the driver get out – he was moving EXCEEDINGLY slowly. Like slower than you could imagine. But soon I saw a spindly old man step out, straighten up and flick his cigarette ash onto the floor.

Yes that’s right.

I noticed it immediately.

I nearly shouted out ‘FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAG!’ as if the guy were pulling a gun on the President, before diving out and grabbing the offending, burning item in some slow mo fashion.

But I didn’t.

I froze. My eyes glued to the cigarette. Then I glanced to the ground… the fuel had ran under the car… then I looked back up to the cigarette. The old man stumbled. I squealed a little bit. He fell against the car. The cigarette lowered…

I turned to look at my kids, who were totally unaware of the potential situation. I didn’t say a thing, I just wanted to see them one last time before being blown to bits by some twat who smokes in a petrol station.

I looked back and the old man was gone. The long haired gimp was in the car, but the old man was gone.

My wife then got into the car, the noise of the door almost made me scream out loud, and she proceeded to tell me what happened with the old man.

It seems that he made a swift crossing of the forecourt and walked into the shop still smoking and declared that he hadn’t got any money and had forgotten his pin number for the card he was waving. He was going to pop home and get some money, and with that he turned and shambled off. Still puffing away.

The Mrs watched him pulling away in the car, unaware of how close to calamity we came. We went to Asda.

I got out of the car at work and my legs were still a little shaky. I had forgotten about the ‘threat’ at work… until I got inside and heard a different sounding alarm…

(It was just a fire alarm fault… that was all, nothing happened of any interest all day.)


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